GDPR aftermath

May 25th has now come and gone and I’m hoping this will bring an end to all the emails I’ve been receiving on a daily basis. I’m a little shocked by how many mailing lists I’m subscribed to and have taken the opportunity to unsubscribe from lots of them. For many businesses it’s the culmination of months and months of preparation and probably a lot of stress. Despite all of this, I do support our right to privacy and our right to be forgotten but there have been some casualties. On Thursday afternoon I received an email from AuroraWatch UK. It started like this:

It’s with great sadness that we are going to have to close the AuroraWatch UK email alert system with immediate effect.


Some of you might be wondering if this is related to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into effect from tomorrow (25 May 2018). The honest answer is that GDPR has contributed to the decision. We’re very proud that AuroraWatch UK has always operated within the spirit of what the new GDPR is trying to achieve – we take privacy and data security very seriously. However, we face challenges demonstrating when consent was received to store the email addresses of some 20,000 legacy users. Furthermore, the GDPR could result in significant financial penalties in the event of data loss. The upshot of this is that we will be securely deleting your subscription email address shortly.

The good news is the AuroraWatch service is not being shut down and I can continue to receive alerts via social media. More details are on their site. This makes me wonder whether email is dying? It’s not such a great medium for receiving alerts and information. I despise it as a method for having group conversations and discussions. Blogs, social media, and instant messaging apps are much better for this and probably increasingly better for notifications too. There are also pockets of young people who don’t use email at all and depend entirely on smart phones and instant messaging.

In case anyone is wondering, I haven’t done anything about GDPR for my own blog (there’s nothing I can do), despite having subscribers who regularly receive my posts by email (thank you!!). According to this, I’m not engaging in any economic activity with my blog and so it doesn’t apply. However my subscribers can unsubscribe at anytime and this has always been the case.

6 thoughts on “GDPR aftermath”

  1. I have to admit, being in the states, the impact of GDPR here is not well known. However, I do get the barrage of emails regarding updates to various company’s terms of service and privacy. As a result, I am much more cognizant of privacy settings on all my social media apps and accounts. I do agree … email is not an effective means for collaboration. Google Hangouts was great, and Google Communities is great, but many may be turned off by how Google is tracking everyone, and hence the privacy discussion there.

    1. Yeah, I’d heard people elsewhere in the world were getting a barrage of emails as well. I wonder whether anything will change in terms of privacy or whether all that has changed is companies are now being more forthright about what they’re doing with our information. I like Google Communities but I don’t think it’s used very much.

  2. I’ve been doing the same thing. My biggest problem has been DashLane, a password keeper which needs my ‘Master Password’ to do anything. I can’t remember my master password! Now I find it doesn’t think I have an account there! So why did it. Send me an email? They shouldn’t still have my details!!

  3. My laptop insisted on updating because of GDPR, but I haven’t noticed much difference (maybe because I am not in UK) apart from a disclaimer now apparent on my blog stating that cookies are used, and emoticons visible in my WP notifications, that weren’t before.
    I am all for protection of privacy, but, perhaps cynically, I think that all our preferences will still be gathered.

    1. Yes, I was thinking the same thing. All those huge companies are still collecting our data. All that has changed is that they’re being more transparent about it. I suppose that’s a good thing.

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